We’ve all been there when using special characters on Windows OS was a big achievement. We’ve all grown old using the Microsoft Windows operating system as the medium of interaction with a computer.
But there’s more to it, there are a ton of keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10 that you need to know right now. Windows is more than Alt+F4 and ctrl+Alt+Delete. In this post, I will share the most unused keyboard shortcuts that will make your life 2x faster.
We all have a friend who barely touches the mouse and his hands run at the lightning speed on the keyboard, thanks to the keyboard shortcuts he has in mind. Consider me as that friend. Not because I use or know those shortcuts, but I’m going to share those keyboard shortcuts right in this post. I’m here to help 😉
Without further ado, let’s begin.
#15 Create a fresh virtual desktop
Those who don’t have all-day work in front of the computer can skip this. But who has will find this keyboard shortcut handy. Many times it happens that we have a lot of applications opened in parallel and finding important applications or tabs slips out of hand.
That’s exactly where this keyboard shortcut comes into play. Simply press Windows key+Ctrl+D or Ctrl + Up arrow on mac to start afresh & new desktop. Clean as new!
#14 Switch between virtual desktops
Okay! Now that you have created virtual desktops, how’d you switched to the previous one? There’s a shortcut for that too. Simply press the keyboard shortcut Windows key + Ctrl or just Ctrl on mac. This way you can easily switch to different virtual desktops on the go.
You can also switch between multiple desktops by pressing the arrow keys. Furthermore, when you no longer need a virtual desktop, simply press Windows key + Ctrl + F4, and for mac press option key + x sign on the top left to close them
#13 Return to desktops from the app windows
At any given time, I have at least 7 applications windows running on my windows PC. If you too have those many application windows running, there are 3 keyboard shortcuts to help you save your day. One keyboard shortcut (Windows+M) will minimize everything and take you to the desktop window. The second keyboard short(Windows+D) will also take you to the desktop but there’s a twist.
If you press Win+D again, you will be taken back to the last application you were using, but that is not the case with Win+M. Furthermore, Win+M sends a minimize command to all the open applications windows, which is not supported or read correctly by all applications.
So, in my opinion, you can use Win+D. I use it all the time when I need to fetch a file from the desktop.
Furthermore, if you just wanna relax for a couple of minutes and take a look at that family photo you have as desktop wallpaper simply press Win+, to sneak a peek onto the desktop.
#12 Open taskbar apps even faster
The taskbar is the space to have the most used apps placed on it. Currently, I have 9 apps pinned to the taskbar. If you too have apps pinned to the taskbar, you can access it using the keyboard shortcut Win+1–9. You can press, Win+1 to open the first application that is pinned on the taskbar and the relevant number for relevant applications in the taskbar.
Sadly, Mac doesn’t have such a key to quickly access the applications in the taskbar. I’m sure Mac users are already happy with the way the app navigation is placed in MacOS
#11 Split screen to use two apps at the same time
A lot of times it happens that I have to use two applications side by side. If you too face such situations, use Win+→ or Win+← to place apps side by side on the desktop. This way, both the applications will be active on the desktop.
To perform any task on either of the applications, simply press Alt+tab to front-load the application.
#10 Switch applications
We all are aware of the keyboard shortcut, Alt+tab, or command+tab in MacOS. But there are two more shortcuts you should know. The first one is Ctrl+Alt+Tab, this will open a task view containing all the applications on the current desktop.
Furthermore, you can press Win+tab to see the timeline of all the applications you have used in the day. You can also see the timeline of the past 30 days, but you will need to explicitly enable it for the first time. By default, you can only see applications of the day.
#09 Troubleshooting frozen applications
We’ve all been there. Some applications simply stop working and it will not even let you switch to another app or desktop so that you can try some troubleshooting.
Well, here’s a solution. Simply press Ctrl+Shift+Esc or Command+Option+Esc on Mac, to open the taskbar and kill that app. This will save you not only unfreezing the application, but you can also do away with restarting your system and losing all your work.
#08 Open file explorer
I know that feeling. I badly missed the keyboard shortcut to open This PC and not the quick access when I press Win+E. But I got this fixed. Mac users, this is your finder app.
You too can open This PC by pressing Win+E. Here’s how to change the Win+E shortcut to This PC.
- Open file explorer
- Click on “View” in the top ribbon menu.
- Click on Options “ change folder and search options
- Folder Options dialog box will appear
- Change “Open file explorer to:” This PC from the drop-down.
- Click Apply and then OK.
You’re good to go.
See! I told you, I’m here to help 😉
# 07 Use magnifier
Zoom into any windows application with the help of the Windows magnifier app. Simply press Win + + or — to open the magnifier app. Just before you open the app, simply place the mouse cursor on that point you want to zoom in.
Mac users need to press Alt+Command+ + or — to do the same.
# 06 Take screenshots
Microsoft has changed a lot of things with Windows 10. There are a couple of ways you can take screenshots, and more importantly, save those screenshots. If you simply press PrtSc, your screenshots will be saved in OneDrive (if you’ve synced OneDrive to your PC) and Win+PrtSc will save those screenshots to the image folder in the Pictures library. Press Win+S to directly copy the whole screen to the clipboard. Win+Shift+S to open the snipping tool if you want to take a screenshot of a portion of your screen.
Mac users can press command+shift+3 to take screenshots. But there’s a cooler thing to this shortcut. If you press 4 instead of 3, you can choose which part of the screenshot you need to save.
# 05 Open Action Center
One of the cool features of Windows 10 was Action Center. All the key system settings like Bluetooth, wifi, portable wifi hotspot, and notifications are in one place, Action Center. To access the Action Center, simply press the keyboard shortcut Win+A.
#04 Access System Settings
If you wish to adjust advanced parameters like account settings or lock screen settings, you will need to open the system settings window. To open that, simply press Win+I to do just that.
#03 Talk to Cortana or Siri
Voice assistant is the next big thing. 50% of the users are talking to their mobile devices to search and find results. You too can talk to Cortana or Siri and do almost any practical thing. From singing a song for you to booking a meeting on your calendar.
To talk to Cortana, simply press Win+C. But first, make sure you have enabled this keyboard shortcut in the Cortana settings. Remember the shortcut to open the system settings?
Time to test it right away.
Mac users can talk to Siri by pressing command+space.
#02 Game bar & screen recorder
Say you have to record a video of an error you are facing on a desktop application. How’d you do it?
Don’t worry, Windows 10 has got us covered. Simply press Win+G to run the Game bar option and then press Win+Alt+R to start recording.
You can even directly start recording by pressing Win+Alt+B. Mac users can press Shift+Command+5.
#01 Paste multiple contents on clipboard
I’ve been waiting for this for ages. I’ve dug the whole web to look for a solution, but I couldn’t find any. But with Windows 10, I can now die in peace. You can paste multiple contents on the clipboard and access the history by pressing the keyboard shortcut, Win+V.
You will need to enable this shortcut before you can use it. Here’s how to enable Clipboard history on Windows 10:
- Open settings
- Click on System
- On the left pane, look for the clipboard
- Enable Clipboard history shortcut
And Bam! You are ready to go and paste anything from clipboard history without copying that thing again.
I have curated over 200 Windows Keyboard shortcuts in this table. You can search for specific shortcuts here for your convenience.
Which hotkey do you use the most? Did I miss anything? Of course, I did. Let me know more windows keyboard shortcuts to include in this post so that we two can be of great help to the community.